Speed Reads

Rest in Peace

Franco Harris, legendary Pittsburgh Steelers running back, dies at 72

Franco Harris, the Hall of Fame running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers who caught the "Immaculate Reception," has died at 72. 

Harris' son Dok told The Associated Press that his father had passed away Tuesday evening. No cause of death was given.

Harris played 12 seasons with Pittsburgh before signing with the Seattle Seahawks for the last year of his career. The Steelers had planned to retire his number 32 jersey during their game this Saturday. 

The running back rushed for more than 12,000 yards and won four Super Bowls with the Steelers; however, it was his part in the "Immaculate Reception" against the Oakland Raiders in 1972 that put him on the map.

During that game, the Steelers were trailing 7-6 and facing a fourth-and-10 with just 22 seconds left in regulation. Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a deep pass intended for Frenchy Fuqua, who collided with an Oakland player and sent the ball bouncing toward midfield. But Harris was able to grab the ball just inches before it touched the ground, then run it back to the endzone to give the Steelers their first-ever playoff win. 

The reception was chosen as the greatest play in the history of football by the NFL Network

"We have lost an incredible football player, an incredible ambassador to the Hall and, most importantly, we have lost one of the finest gentlemen anyone will ever meet," Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said in a statement